A Missionary Call

Thursday, July 13, 2017, 11:11 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “It All Depends.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read several scriptures (in the ESV) on the subject of the call of God on our lives.

Send Me (Isaiah 6:8-9a)

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” And he said, “Go, and say to this people…”

A Christian missionary is called of God, a disciple (follower) of Christ, and a messenger of God in sharing the gospel of our salvation and in teaching the Word of Truth (the Word of God) to the people of the world. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are all called to be missionaries in that we have all been called to be Christ’s witnesses and to make disciples of Christ of people of all nations, and we are all to proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light. Also we are the light of the world and the salt of the earth, and we are to let our light – the light of Christ and of his gospel – shine before all people. The light is not to be hidden or kept only to ourselves (Acts 1:8; Matt. 28:18-20; 1 Pet. 2:9; Matt. 5:13-16).

When we trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, and his Holy Spirit comes to live within us, we are gifted of the Spirit of God with spiritual gifts and we are given assignments by God within the body of Christ, his church, which we are to fulfill (See: Ro. 12; 1 Co. 12; Eph. 4). We have all been called to belong to Christ, to be holy, to be his saints, according to God’s purpose, by the will of God, into fellowship with Christ, by his grace, to freedom in Christ, to eternal life, and to share in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings and for the sake of the gospel (various scriptures). Yet, we are each given specific assignments, as well, which God will reveal to us if we are listening to him (See: Psalm 139:16). So, when God speaks, we should listen, and we should respond, “Here I am, send me.”

God Appointed (Jeremiah 1:4-9a)

Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” But the Lord said to me,

“Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’;
for to all to whom I send you, you shall go,
and whatever I command you, you shall speak.
Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you,
declares the Lord.”
Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth.

Before the creation of the world, we were chosen by God to be conformed to the image of Christ. We were called to a holy calling in Christ Jesus. And, we were chosen in Christ to be holy and blameless before him. All the days ordained for us by God were written in his book before one of them came into being (Ro. 8:29; 2 Tim. 1:8-9; Eph. 1:3-4; Ps. 139). God placed us in the wombs of our mothers, which means he placed us in the homes we were brought up in, even knowing the good and the bad that would happen to us. God is completely sovereign over all that he has made. He had a plan and a purpose for our lives even before he created the world. He knew us and he chose us and he called us to something very uniquely designed by God for us to do and to be.

God did not place us here on this earth so we could live life however we want, and so we can entertain ourselves and be entertained continuously by others. He has a mission for each one of us to fulfill. He has a specific assignment for us. He has somewhere he wants us to live and to go, and messages he wants us to give and people to whom he would have us minister the love, grace, and mercy of Christ, and with whom he would have us share the full gospel message of salvation. And, we don’t have to worry about whether or not we can do this, because if God is in it, and if he has called us, he will equip us, and he will give us all we need to do what he has called us to do. He will supply all we need, and he will go before us and prepare the way and guide our steps, and give us the words to speak.

A Servant and Witness (Acts 26:15-18)

“And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’”

Perhaps you have been resisting his call on your life, because you want to live your life how you want, make all your own decisions, live where you want, and go about your day according to your own plans and purposes. Or, perhaps you only serve God on your own terms, and will only follow him if he doesn’t ask you to do anything that would involve much personal sacrifice. Yet, he may ask you to leave friends and loved ones behind to go to the regions beyond. Still, you may be among those who fear that if they listen to the Lord, and if they seek his will for their lives, that God may ask them to do something they don’t want to do, something that would take them into the unknown, or something that may get them majorly rejected, persecuted or even killed for their testimony for Christ and for his gospel.

So, he is calling us to take a stand for him, to not waver back and forth in our commitments, but to be faithful to him in service in being who he has called us to be, going where he wants us to go, and doing what he says. He is calling us to accept his call on our lives and to say “Here I am. Send me.” And, he promises to provide all we need to do the work of the ministry to which he has called us.

Yet, God has not called us to just be nice people and to make people feel good about themselves while they are still dead in their sins. He has called us to open blinded eyes, to turn them from darkness (sin, wickedness) to light (truth, Christ, righteousness) and from the power Satan has over their lives to God to walk in his ways. Then they will receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those sanctified (purified) by faith in Jesus Christ. So, we need to tell them the truth, for their eternity depends on it. Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. If we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk (in lifestyle) in darkness (sin), we are liars. True faith in Jesus Christ results in being crucified with Christ in death to sin that we might live with Christ in newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Ro. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).

It All Depends
Jerry Nelson / Don Marsh

Would I leave the place
Where I have lived and settled down?
It all depends.
Break with my attachments,
Sentimental though they be?
It all depends.
Would I find myself uprooting
All the stakes I’ve driven down,
Leaving friends and loved ones far behind,
Captive to the call of some far off distant land?
I can only answer, that depends.

It all depends on where He needs me,
For where he leads me my feet must go.
It may be down an unfamiliar pathway
Or cross the mountains so bleak with snow.
His faithful hand will always guide me.
He’ll walk beside me, let come what may.
Why should I dread the night?
My faith has found its sight.
I’ll do his will through the rest of my life.

Days Formed for Me

Thursday, July 6, 2017, 6:06 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Search Me, O God.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 139 (Select vv. ESV).

He Knows Me (vv. 1-7)

O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?

Our God and Lord knows us, the end from the beginning, inside and out, thoroughly and completely, because he is the one who made us. He knows everything we do. We cannot hide from God. Nothing we do is hidden from his sight. Even if we go into a dark place, he still sees and knows everything we are doing. Nothing escapes his notice! He is acquainted with all of our ways. We may be able to fool people, but we can’t fool God. He knows. He sees. So, if we are doing wrong, and we are trying to look good on the outside, while inside, when we are alone in the darkness, we are doing what is wicked, although humans may not see and may not know, God knows. And, what he says he will do will be fulfilled. We can count on it!

Yet, if we are doing what is right, this should serve to be a comfort and an encouragement to us that God knows us completely. Because he does, even if others misjudge us or reject us based on a misconception or on their own prejudice, God knows the truth. He knows our hearts, who we are, and what we do, and the reasons we do it, even if no one else does. And, he will comfort us with that knowledge, fill us with his peace, and assure us of his grace, strength, and the knowledge of his will for our lives. Even before we utter a word in prayer to him, he knows what we are going to say, and he may even begin to answer us or counsel us in our minds before we even vocalize our requests to him, or even before we even know what to ask.

In My Mother’s Womb (vv. 13-16)

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

None of us are here on this earth by chance or by mistake. God formed us in the wombs of our mothers. What this means is that he placed us in the families we were born into, even knowing what would happen to us – good or bad. He didn’t cause evil, but he allows evil to exist for his purposes. He doesn’t always protect us from harm, but he protects us emotionally and spiritually through the storms of life, if we trust him. He didn’t promise us we would never face adversity. In fact, he said the opposite. He said that, as his followers, we would be treated like he was treated. He uses our life experiences to mold us and to shape us into the people he created us to be. And, he is quite capable of seeing us through any and all circumstances, no matter how difficult, and to give us the wisdom and strength we need to endure, to persevere, and to “come out shining like gold” (1).

For those of us who know God, and who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of our lives, we must know that even before God created the world, he chose us, that we should be holy and blameless before him. He predestined us to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. And, he called us to a holy calling in Christ Jesus, our Lord (See: Ro. 8:29; 2 Tim. 1:8-9; Eph. 1:3-4). He has something for each of us to do. He has a plan and a purpose for our lives. He didn’t save us so we could live however we want, and so we could plan out our own lives. He has given us spiritual gifts and he has given us each assignments within the body of Christ which we are to fulfill for his purposes and for his glory (See: Jer. 1). This is my assignment, to write out what he teaches me each day, and to post it on the internet.

Lead Me, I Pray (vv. 17-18, 23-24)

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.

Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!

God doesn’t think like we do, as humans. His ways are higher than our ways. What might not make sense to us makes perfect sense to God, because he knows the end from the beginning. He knows what lies ahead for us. Sometimes he allows delays and roadblocks because he has a plan that is greater than our understanding. So, what might seem like a failure to us may not be that at all. We need to learn to trust God and not lean on our own understanding, for our understanding is flawed (imperfect), whereas his is absolutely perfect. We also need to understand that God’s timing is not the same as ours. I think that in today’s culture, particularly here in America, we want everything fast, and we have lost the art of patience. But, God is very patient, and he is willing that none should perish, but that all should come to repentance. So, we need to wait on God’s timing.

God knows our hearts and our minds. We sometimes think we know like God knows, but we don’t always, although we do have the mind of Christ (See: 1 Co. 2:16). Sometimes we even misjudge ourselves or we are self-deceived into thinking thoughts about ourselves which are not true. So, it is good for us to have God search our minds and hearts and to show us what we are not able to see about ourselves, so that we can be changed in heart and mind in conformity to Christ and to his will for our lives. We might think we are serving the Lord, and that he is pleased with us, but we might be missing the mark. So, it is good to have those soul-searching times alone with God where we pray and we ask him to reveal to us any sins or if we are going the wrong direction, and for him to guide us and to lead us in the way he would have us to go, because, again, he has a very specific assignment for each one of us which he wants us to fulfill, and so we need to fulfill it.

Search Me, O God / An Original Work / July 12, 2012

Based off Psalm 139

O Lord, You search and know me.
You know all that I do.
O Lord, You discern my ways.
I put my trust in You.
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Where can I flee from Your presence?
Where’er I am, You are with me,
Guiding me in love.
O Lord, You search and know me.
You know all that I do.
O Lord, You discern my ways.
I put my trust in You.

O Lord, You made and formed me
In my own mother’s womb.
Your hands beautif’ly made me.
I give my praise to You.
My frame was not hidden from You
When I was made in the dark place.
All the days ordained for me
Were written in Your book.
O Lord, You made and formed me
In my own mother’s womb.
Your hands beautif’ly made me.
I give my praise to You.

O Lord, how precious to me
Are Your thoughts, O my God.
When I wake in the morning,
You are still here with me.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offense.
Lead me in Your truth.
O Lord, how precious to me
Are Your thoughts, O my God.
When I wake in the morning,
You are still here with me.

References:

(1) https://www.scribd.com/doc/101911488/Lyrics-I-Am-Willing-Lord-Joni-Eareckson-Tada

The Correct Foundation

Monday, December 26, 2016, 7:14 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Amazing Grace.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 Corinthians 3:1-15 (NASB).

Infants in Christ (vv. 1-4)

And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not mere men?

When we first believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, depending upon our physical age or our background, we may know little of God’s word, or of Jesus Christ, or of what it means to be a Christian. So, we need to daily be in the Word of God, reading and studying it, and praying for understanding of just the basics of our salvation. As well, our Lord has provided believers in Jesus with the gift of teaching within the church to teach us those elementary truths of what it means to be a Christian, and concerning how we are to walk in Christ’s holiness and righteousness.

But, as we progress in our walks of faith with Christ, and we grow in him through times spent with him each day in his word, in prayer, and in obedience; in fellowshipping with the body of Christ (the church), and in learning more of Jesus and his word, taught to us within the church, we should soon move on past the elementary truths of our salvation to maturity in Christ, and on to deeper spiritual truths. Yet, not everyone does. Some people remain spiritual infants after many years of knowing Jesus as Savior of their lives, though I suspect that some (or many) of them may be Christians by profession only, who have never been born again (transformed) of the Spirit of God.

So, what distinguished these particular believers as still fleshly (or worldly) was that they were making idols of human beings, and they were even fighting and arguing with each other over what man should be followed, or over who they thought was better. And, this still goes on today, for one says “I am Baptist,” and another says, “I am Presbyterian,” or “I am Methodist.” So, not much has changed. And, some of them argue and fight (down and dirty) with one another over whose doctrine is superior to the other.

Now, we should stand for what we believe is right, and we should correct doctrinal error, if we believe error has taken place, and if it involves doctrines essential to our salvation and our eternal security, but we should not fight and attack one another. Never! We should, instead, present the Word of truth plainly, and trust the Holy Spirit to speak to human hearts. And, we should be willing, when presented with something in conflict with what we were always taught, to search the Word of God, to make certain we are not the ones in error, instead of holding fiercely to our Baptist, Methodist or Presbyterian (etc.) doctrines, because we could be wrong. I know I was taught some things wrong, and God has had to correct me, at times.

One Body, Many Parts (vv. 5-9)

What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.

The church is worldly when it raises one man (or woman) above another, as though some gifts of the Spirit are to be given recognition above others; or when it demeans other gifts of the Spirit and those servants who exercise those gifts; or when it follows human personalities over following God and the witness of the Spirit within them. We are all one body. We just have different parts (roles, assignments). We are not to treat one as less than others just because we have different gifts from them, and we are not to regard ourselves in that way, either. As well, we are not to say to one part of the body, “I have no need of you,” though many churches are doing this today, as they are being taught to do in their training classes, so as to weed out those they don’t want in favor of those they think will be an asset to their “church” (business of human making, and marketed as such).

We need to see one another as essential to the body of Christ and to the growth of his church. We need to stop thinking with human reasoning and think like God thinks, i.e. have his eternal perspective about his church and ministry, instead of buying into human marketing schemes for how to build the church. The church has been turned into businesses of human making, which definitely idolize personalities and particular gifts (or talents). We have to view all of this through God’s eyes, though, which says that all of us who serve the Lord are just servants, but it is God who causes the growth. We can only boast in the Lord and in what he does through us, and not in ourselves, for all we have and are comes from him, and not from us.

How We Build (vv. 10-15)

According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

First of all, we need to make certain we have the right foundation before we begin building. If the foundation is wrong, the building will not survive at all, but will come crashing down. For instance, if our foundation is a half-truth gospel or a watered-down version of the true gospel, then that is a faulty (or false) foundation, and we won’t be saved at all, no matter how we build. So, how do we know if we have the correct foundation? We have to read the Bible, preferably the New Testament, for that is where much of the foundation is laid, though the prophets of old also laid some of this foundation. And, we have to read the scriptures in context, and not pull scriptures out of context to make them say what we want to hear.

So, what is the correct foundation? Jesus Christ, God incarnate, though sinless, became sin for us when he died on a cross in order that we might become the righteousness of God. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. He died, too, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit, for if we live according to our sinful flesh, we will die (in our sins), but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live (with Christ for eternity). If we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk in darkness, we are liars, and the truth is not in us. If we hold on to our old lives (of living for sin and self), we will lose them (for eternity), but if we lose our lives (die to sin and self), we will gain eternal life (See: 2 Co. 5:15, 21; 1 Pet. 2:24; Ro. 8:1-14; Lu. 9:23-25; 1 Jn. 1:6).

When we truly believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, we are crucified with Christ (of the Spirit) in death to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” “Our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.” “For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.” “But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (See: Eph. 4:17-24; Ro. 6:1-23.)

Jesus did not die just so we could be forgiven our sin, freed from punishment in hell, and have the hope of heaven when we die, with no requirements for godly living while we await his return. His grace, which brings salvation, teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for his return (Tit. 2:11-14). Jesus said that his sheep listen to him, he knows them, and they follow (obey) him, and they are the ones which can’t be snatched out of his and the Father’s hands (Jn. 10:27-30). Paul was sent to open blinded eyes, “so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in” Jesus (Acts 26:16-18).

God’s amazing grace did not merely rescue me from hell, and give me the hope of heaven when I die. His AMAZING GRACE freed me from the control of sin and Satan over my life, and freed me to live to Christ and to his righteousness – all in the power and working of God’s Holy Spirit now living within me. My eternal life with God does not begin when I die. It began the day I met Jesus, and he cleansed me of my sins, and he gave me new life in him to be lived for him – holy and pleasing to him, which is my reasonable and acceptable worship of him (Ro. 12:1-2). Amen!

Amazing Grace / John Newton

Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found
Was blind, but now I see.

‘Twas Grace that taught my heart to fear,
And Grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils, and snares
I have already come.
‘Tis Grace hath brought me safe thus far
And Grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me.
His Word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.

And when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess within the veil
A life of joy and peace.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.

Who Am I?

Friday, November 18, 2016, 6:11 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Have Thine Own Way, Lord.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Acts 6:1-7 (ESV).

His Purpose and Grace

We read in Psalm 139 that God created our inmost being. He knit us together in the wombs of our mothers. All the days ordained for us were written in God’s book before one of them came to be. We read in Jeremiah 1 that God knew Jeremiah before he formed him in the womb of his mother. Before he was born, God set him apart to be a prophet to the nations.

We read in 2 Timothy 1:8-9: “Therefore, do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.”

And, in Ephesians 1:3-4 we read: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.”

In Romans 12:4-8 we read: “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.”

And, in 1 Corinthians 12:11, 18: “All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.” “But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.”

As well, we read in Ephesians 4:15-16: “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”

It’s Not Right (Ac. 6:1-4)

Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”

You have probably heard the saying, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” This figure of speech is “used in reference to a person that is competent with many skills, but no particular one” (Wikipedia). This can be good if you are a handyman, i.e. if your job is to do maintenance work in a building, and therefore you need to have multiple and/or overlapping skills. As Christ’s ministers, though, it is possible that this could be a detriment if we stretch ourselves over too many ministry areas and thus we neglect the one prominent area of ministry to which God called us even before the creation of the world, and before we were even formed in the wombs of our mothers.

Many pastors, for instance, are expected to do all the preaching of the Word, all the hospital and shut-in visitations, all the counseling, and all the planning and implementation of “church” programs, etc. In addition to this, in today’s modern institutional church, they are expected to be business men with marketing skills, and entertainers and actors who must keep the “customers” coming back for more. Thus, they feel they have to focus more on doing what appeals to human flesh, rather than on spending the necessary time and heart with God in prayer and in his Word so that they are able to lead their flocks to follow the Lord Jesus Christ in obedience.

Yet, this passage of scripture should not be taken as only applying to those who are professional ministers with congregations under their authority. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are all his ministers. God has called each and every one of us to something that we alone are to do. It doesn’t mean other people don’t have the same gifts or similar functions, but that God has a unique assignment for each of us. In other words, not one of the apostles was exactly the same as the other, although they were all apostles.

So, we need to focus our attention on who God created us to be, on why we are here, and on what he has called us to do. We need to spend time with God in prayer, and in his Word, and we need to seek his face concerning what part of the body he wants us to be, and then we need to dedicate ourselves to being that part, and to not trying to spread ourselves thin. Then, the body can grow, because every part is doing its assigned work.

Full of Faith (Ac. 6:5-7)

And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.

And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.

If we don’t have faith in Jesus Christ, God does not have an assignment for us, at least not Holy Spirit empowered for the building up of the body of Christ. So, first of all, we need to examine ourselves to see if we are truly in the faith. Belief in Jesus Christ is not mere words we recite after someone else, or a one-time emotional or intellectual experience we go through. When we believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior of our lives, we die with Christ to sin so we can live with him to righteousness. We are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ in newness of life, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24). If we say we have fellowship with God, but we conduct our lives according to a sinful lifestyle, then we are liars, and the truth is not in us (1 Jn. 1:6).

Once we are sure we have true faith in Jesus Christ, then we need to spend quality and quantity time with him each day in prayer (talking to God), in the study of His Word, listening to him speak his truths to our hearts, and then in obedience to what his Word teaches us we must do. God will guide our hearts into his truth, and he will show us the way we should go. As we follow him where he leads us, and we get to know him and his heart, we begin to see what gifts he has given to us and how he wants us to use them in the body, and for his glory. And, then we need to say “Yes” to his leading, and do what he asks us to do. We should then care more about pleasing him than we care about the acceptance of humans. He is likely to call us to do something which will get us rejected by other humans, and so we need to be willing to be hated, persecuted and even killed for obeying our Lord.

We may not always see immediate fruit for our labors, though. Some people are called to plant, while others will reap, so even if you can’t see all the produce now for the sowing you are doing in other people’s hearts, trust God, follow his lead, do what he says, and leave the results to him.

Let him have his way in your heart and life, and let him use you in the way in which he called you even before you were born. We won’t always know all the impact we have on other people’s lives. But, God will use our obedience for good, for the salvation of human lives, for the encouragement of the saints, and for the building up of his body if we surrender to him and let him mold us into the people of God he designed us to be. I surrender all!

Have Thine Own Way, Lord / Adelaide A. Pollard / George C. Stebbins

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway.
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!